Tripping Balls - The Responsible Way

Image credit: Piero Zagami and Michela Nicchiotti

I took mushrooms once in college. Sophomore year, took them with 2 of my roommates. I won’t go into the details of my trip, but I will tell you that it was without a doubt one of the most enlightening and positive experiences in my life. I would (and have) definitely recommend to a friend. At least it was a great experience for me and one of the other two. The third wasn’t so lucky. He had what you would call a “bad trip.”

Illustration: George Yarnton

Bad trips have been attributed to negative attitudes going in, existing anxiety being elevated, paranoia, etc. I don’t know why they happen, I just know that they do and that it ain’t pretty. While me and buddy number one were in our own amazing, strange, imaginary lands making spiritual revelations about the universe grinning like Cheech & Chong, Friedrich fucking Nietzsche was curled up on the couch in fetal position waiting for the dementors to go away.

Point is: bad trips = bad. Enter microdosing.

Microdosing is exactly what is sounds like...it's the process of consuming very small doses of a drug, typically 1/10 or 1/20 of the typical recreational amount. So why do it?

This is not a new thing. Humans have been experimenting with psychedelics going back to 5000 BCE. Modern research has shown that there could be some very serious health benefits to microdosing if done correctly. They've shown potential to aid in the treatment of depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse treatment, pain relief, PTSD, among others.

Below are the results of a study done by the Harm Reduction Journal in which 278 microdosers participated:

Improved mood, focus and creativity were the top 3 benefits reported by the participants. Obviously microdosing still has it's fair share of challenges but the medical research is really only in it's early stages so I'm sure we'll see breakthroughs coming soon. Here's some of the most microdosed substances and what the effects feel like, courtesy of The Cut:

About an hour or two after ingesting the microdose, people notice an increase in focus and energy. Many users find that it helps with weaning off — and staying off — anti-depressants. It can help lessen the side effects of withdrawal and even mitigate depression. Many speak to the drug’s ability to increase empathy, too.

LSD

Cannabis in microdose form has been found to be helpful for a wide variety of physical ailments: chronic pain, nausea, inflammation, indigestion, fibromyalgia, PTSD-associated insomnia, even nightmares. But it also helps with mood: It can boost interest in one’s surroundings, creativity, happiness, and focus, while also combating stress.

Cannabis

DMT has a faster onset than any of the drugs on this list — it can kick in seconds after use, and its acute effects last only about a half-hour. It brings users to a place of introspection and, as one frequent microdoser put it, “cuts out anything that isn’t serving me in the present moment, so I can just enjoy being.”

DMT

Microdosing ayahuasca can increase sensitivity and openness in users — many feel their boundaries and defenses dissolve. It is not optimal for work, as it can make physical and mental tasks slightly more strenuous and can make users feel passive — “It made it hard to answer emails, write queries, research,” said one.

Ayahuasca

Iboga in small doses can promote introspection, clarity, thoughtfulness, and a feeling of connectedness to people and the world. One user reported feeling “too introspective. I was often lost in thought,” she said, “and had no interest in conversing with others, because small talk seemed too tedious and unimportant.” It’s also been known, in large doses, to reset opiate receptors and therefore help curb cravings.

Iboga

Some users report feeling a physical high and a decrease in physical sensation. “If you have pain in your knees,” says one user, “you’re not going to feel that on a microdose of ketamine.” It also eases stress and depression. With larger doses, users report that those anti-depressive effects can last for days, weeks, or even a month.

Ketamine

For now...trip responsibly!

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